Book Review: Making Concrete Pots, Bowls, and Planters

img_4532I’ve been keen to have a go at crafting with concrete for some time now, when the chance came to review Hester Van Overbeek’s latest book, I was jumped at the opportunity!

Making Concrete Pots, Bowls, and Platters contains 35 projects for your home. If like me, you’ve never worked with concrete before, it provides you will all the basic knowledge to need to get going. The Getting Started section covers everything from choosing your concrete to techniques, drying times, and the tools needed. I’ve always been a bit hesitant to give concrete a go, fearing that I’ll need lots of tools and that it will be too complicated, but Hester’s clear guidance and tips make it seem really achievable. Continue reading

Learning to Crochet: DIY Necklace Kit

img_3741I love all kinds of crafting, sewing, painting, papercrafts, I like a bit of variety. Crochet though? Not in my craft room. After attempting once, I gave up and never tried it again. Many of my crafty friends crochet lovely things, but I’ve never really caught the bug. When Liz of Fickle Craft Room approached me asking if I’d like to have a go at one of her new crochet kits, I knew it was time to finally have another go.

I already own one of the Fickle Craft Room necklaces, a lovely mustard yellow with dark grey beads, and I adore it. It’s one of those necklaces which always gets lovely comments, often followed by a ‘did you make it?’. Now, I’d be able to answer with a positive yes, instead of skirting around the subject!

Continue reading

The Handmade Fair 2016

img_2542If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I went to The Handmade Fair on Friday. It’s safe to say that I’ve been excited about going for weeks (correction, months), and this year wasn’t a let down.

I wanted to start this post by reflecting on why I was so excited. Looking back, it’s because I learnt so many new skills last year. Through the workshops/talks, I discovered a love for calligraphy, learnt how to lino print and then used those skills to make all of our Christmas cards! I also enjoyed being surrounded by so many other creative people. I’ve been to other shows before, but The Handmade Fair is so different, there is a real sense of community. Continue reading

Learning to Spray Paint: Graffiti Workshop

IMG_2003Creative presents are the best kind of presents. I’m lucky that Mr Makes is a brilliant present buyer, and last Christmas, he came up trumps with a voucher for a graffiti art workshop in London. I love attending creative workshops, but this one was particularly meaningful in that when we first met back at Sixth form, a large part of my Art A-level was spent studying Graffiti art. This workshop would give me a chance to finally use actual spray paint rather than the usual pencils and acrylic paint which I’d used all those years ago.

Fast forward to August 2016, and we booked to attend our session on a sunny Sunday afternoon at the Graffik gallery, based on Portobello Road. We arrived early so were able to spend some time looking round the gallery. The workshop took place in a courtyard to the back of the building. As we donned our protective suits and sat down, I was immediately drawn to the bright colours and amazing murals that surrounded us. Continue reading

Signature Bakes: Hummingbird Bakery Lemon Loaf

IMG_1584I’m a firm believer that everyone should have at least one signature bake. That thing which you always get asked to make by your friends, family, or colleagues whenever a cake is needed. I’ve got a few signature bakes, but one of the most requested is a lemon loaf cake from The Hummingbird Bakery cookbook.

The first Hummingbird Bakery cookbook is my go-to for cupcakes, brownies, cookies, and of course lemon cake. Easy to make, these recipes always deliver. I’m yet to find another cupcake recipe which works as well! When I was asked by a friend to help with a bake sale at work, my lemon loaf cake was the first that came to mind. It’s easy to make, tasty, and it produces a LOT of cake, meaning more money for charity (hopefully).

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The recipe is simple to follow, and doesn’t require too many ingredients. Aside from lemons, all of the other ingredients are store cupboard/fridge staples. The process is simple, begin by mixing together sugar and eggs. Next, alternate adding flour mixed with baking powder, and milk mixed with vanilla essence. Add your lemon zest, and finally mix in some melted butter.

I’ve made this with both a handheld mixer and my Kitchen Aid and it works well with either (although the Kitchen Aid makes it a lot easier!). It’s worth noting that although the prep time is minimal, it will need 75 minutes in the oven, so you can’t whip this up at the last minute!

In the last 15 minutes of baking, you’ll need to make a simple lemon sugar syrup is made using sugar, lemon juice and water. As soon as the cake is out of the oven, this is drizzled over the cake.

Once cooled (it’s a hefty cake, so it will take a while), slice and store in an airtight tin. Due to the lack of icing, this cake is best served with a big mug of tea/coffee, or warmed slightly with some cream. Having said that, I promise you that it tastes great.

I’m going to look at giving this a go with gluten free flour next time, but I’m pleased to say that this one went down a storm at the bake sale!

Top tips

  • You don’t need greaseproof paper for this cake. I’ve got a non-stick tin, which I greased with melted butter and then sprinkled with flour. Although dubious at first, it works perfectly! Take the cake out of the tin while it is still slightly warm.
  • Freeze your leftover lemons. This recipe requires a lot of lemon zest, but not so much lemon juice. I tend to cut the leftover lemons into wedges and freeze to use in drinks.
  • Make the most of your lemon drizzle! Before pouring over the lemon syrup, make some holes in the cake using either a skewer or sharp knife, otherwise the syrup just runs down the sides. I also use a pastry brush to apply the syrup to the top of the cake, which gives it a nice shine.

Recipe Review: Madeleine Shaw Choc Chip Cookies

IMG_0402I’ve been gluten free for around 6 months. I’m not here to give diet advice, or try to convince you to eat a certain way, but for me it’s been great. Going gluten free hasn’t always been easy, surprisingly bread was fairly easy to give up, but what I truly miss are biscuits. I LOVE chocolate chip cookies, possibly more than any other treat. I’ve tried a few different gluten free varieties from the supermarkets but they haven’t managed to fill the biscuit void in my life.

I bought Madeleine Shaw’s new book, Ready Steady Glow, a couple of weeks ago and saw a recipe for cookies, which Madeleine says will taste the same as traditional cookies. I instantly knew that I had to give these a go, and a few hours later, I was already baking my first batch. Continue reading

More Lucky Dip Club

Yay! It’s Spring! I’m loving the long sunny days (even if I am still wearing my Winter coat), and the fact that it’s still light in the evening. I’ve been trying to make the most of the lovely sunny light and taking lots of photos for my Instagram and blog, including some of my Lucky Dip Club goodies.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, or following me on Instagram, will know that I’m a big fan of Lucky Dip Club! I’ve now been a subscriber for a full year and thought it was time for another round-up of the latest boxes. Continue reading

The Handmade Fair 2015

It’s been a while since my last post, unfortunately real life gets in the way sometimes. However, I haven’t been neglecting my crafting completely, and a trip to The Handmade Fair has left me completely inspired.

I bought tickets to this year’s event after a recommendation by Merrie and Nicola of The Peachy Pair, who would also be keeping me company for the day. It’s safe to say that I was very excited about attending, especially choosing my workshops for the day. Continue reading

Lucky Dip Club: August Box

It’s been a while! I’ve been super busy lately so haven’t had much time to dedicate to my blog. However as soon as this month’s Lucky Dip Club box dropped through the letterbox, I knew that I HAD to write something about it.

I’ve been getting the Lucky Dip Club boxes since March, and I think this is possibly my favourite box yet. I adore everything in it, and this month’s charm was just adorable.

So, what did we get this month? Continue reading